Forging your way to the very top of the world, as far as 90°N, is a journey of extreme fortitude and adventure. Few venture this far north, to a land of tightly packed ice and frozen waterways. A powerful nuclear icebreaker cleaves a path through sea ice, taking voyagers on an epic discovery of the North Pole’s landscapes and wildlife. Polar bears and walruses inhabit this icy wilderness, and a helicopter ride above the Arctic Ocean offers a chance to see them in their natural habitat. Trace the history of earlier expeditions in the Franz Josef Land archipelago, where the remains of these voyages are preserved as historical sites.
Far in the South Atlantic, the Falklands are a collection of rugged, remote islands defined by their rich bird life and thriving waters. Along with a large population of the black-browed albatross, it is the four species of penguins that are the islands’ most famed residents. Magellanic, Gentoo, Rockhopper and King Penguin colonies cover the lands, offering visitors an up close look at these rare birds on hikes through the wilderness. The waters are home to fur seals and sea lions, dolphins and killer whales. On land, the British Territory retains Victorian architecture and a distinct English charm with lively pubs and museums.
Until as recently as the 1920s, the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard was no man’s land. Even today, few venture into the remote islands of Spitsbergen, Nordaustlandet and Edgeøya in winter, when the nights are endless and icy. Come April, the days lengthen until the sun never sets and the dramatic landscapes of fjords and glaciers are awash in golden light. Expeditions into the rugged mountains and rolling tundra offer many opportunities for hiking and snowshoeing amidst glorious scenery. Wildlife watching is rich and varied, with arctic foxes, beluga whales, seals and reindeer aplenty.
Greenland’s most untouched landscapes include dramatic fjords and small villages scattered across lush valleys. Norse ruins rise up in the shadow of mountains, and icebergs and glaciers define the skyline. In this rugged, pristine land sea eagles rule the sky, humpback whales dominate the waterways, and a large population of muskoxen roam the land. Greenland is not an expedition for the faint of heart - it offers unparalleled wildlife viewing, rewarding hiking trails, cold nights spent under the dancing lights of the aurora borealis, and immersive experiences with old-world cultures.
In the icy, remote hinterlands of the Northern Hemisphere, wildlife not only survives, but thrives in the harshest of conditions. The High Arctic is the playground of grizzly bears and beluga whales, harp seals, walruses, and migratory birds. Both Canada and Russia have magnificent polar landscapes and vast waterways primed for exploration. Expeditions on the water take you past ice-capped mountains and looming glaciers. In Russia, the landscape is covered in moss and lichen and in Canada, granite cliffs rush down to rocky shorelines. Forge a path into this pristine wilderness to experience life in the Arctic.
Only the truly intrepid venture into the earth’s polar wilderness. Antarctica is where rugged mountains of ice rise out of the sea and the frozen water’s surface shields beneath it leopard seals and humpback whales. Your cruise vessel will thread through narrow channels of water between gargantuan glaciers. On land, you’ll see vast, noisy penguin colonies with busy little gentoo and chinstrap penguins gathering to nest. Only a handful of cruise ships journey into the Antarctic peninsula, but to travel to the earth’s frozen final frontier is to follow in the footsteps of legendary polar and scientific expeditions.